Cynthia LawsonA federal jury in Manhattan found Kansas City businessman Scott Tucker guilty on all counts in a racketeering case. Tucker owned a $2 billion payday-lending business, which prosecutors had argued was built on illegal partnerships and predatory loans.

Guilty Verdict’s for Tucker and Muir

According to an article on Bloomberg the jury also convicted Timothy Muir, a former lawyer for Mr. Tucker’s company.  Muir was a co-defendant in the criminal prosecution. The jury convicted both Tucker and Muir on 14 counts, including money laundering, wire fraud, and violations of federal racketeering and lending laws. The Jury deliberation took less than a full day to come back with the guilty verdicts despite a four-week trial.

The U.S. Attorney’s office argued that Mr. Tucker’s company illegally charged as much as 4.5 million people interest rates up to 700% interest on short-term loans, that his company hid the terms of the loans in deceptive paperwork and used sham partnerships with Native American tribes to evade state laws capping interest rates.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said of the verdict: “The jury saw through Tucker and Muir’s lies and saw their business for what it was—an illegal and predatory scheme to take callous advantage of vulnerable workers living from paycheck to paycheck.”

The racketeering charges Tucker was convicted of each carry up to 20 years in prison, while violations of the Truth in Lending Act each carry a year in prison. Mr. Tucker, who has a successful side career as a race car driver, may also have to forfeit property he purchased as a result of the illegal scheme, such as his Ferrari race cars and Porsches, a Learjet airplane, and a vacation home in Aspen.  For more information, see the court case of U.S. v. Tucker, 16-cr-091, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

This criminal trial exposed the payday lending industry, which many assert prey on the desperate who have little ability to borrow from traditional banks and credit unions.  If you find yourself in the vicious cycle of borrowing from one payday lender in order to pay off another payday lender or renewing the payday loans over and over, please contact Bond & Botes, our attorneys are experienced in getting you out of this downward spiral.

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